Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Yale Bowl Turns 100

Army brought parachutists, cadets, bands, and mules to help Yale celebrate the Bowl's 100th anniversary (YWAA photos)

Really, not many among the 34,000 fans in the Yale Bowl expected it.  Most spectators on the brilliant sunny afternoon of Sept. 27 ventured into the Bowl to help Yale celebrate the old stadium's 100th anniversary.  Many others were there because the Bulldogs were playing Army, a big-time program with a storied legacy (although with dismal results in recent decades).  Army's Black Knights were accompanied by a thousand or more cadets (all in military attire), a couple of mascot mules, and many of the trappings and dressings from their West Point campus.

Others came because the autumn afternoon offered one of the best days of the year, because conditions were ideal for tailgating, and because four parachutists performed a perfect glide into the stadium and onto the Bowl's floor at the 50-yard line.

Very few expected Yale to slip away with a victory. Yale confronted an Army team that annually traverses the country to play FBS ("Division I") programs.  On a celebratory Saturday, the Bulldogs shocked college-football experts by defeating West Point, 49-43, in a thrilling overtime game.  After Tyler Varga '15 scored the winning touchdown four hours after the game started, Yale students and followers stormed the field, as if Yale had just defeated Harvard. Except for this game, there was far less teasing, taunting and jousting with their West Point guests.

Some will say this was the most thrilling Yale win in ages.  Others will contend it's the best the football squad has looked in years.  Many might suggest that Harvard, while beating Brown on the same day, took a peek at Yale marching up and down the field with ease, Yale getting coast-to-coast attention because it was the first Ivy League team to defeat a Division IA school in 18 years. Harvard glimpsed. The Cantabs just might be fearful when the Bulldogs swarm into Cambridge November 22 for The Game.

Yale and Army are long-time rivals, although they had not played since 1996 (YWAA photos)

Yale students dashed onto the field to celebrate the victory and hope to do the same in Boston in late November (YWAA photos)

Over 34,000 fans filled more than half the Bowl to see Yale's thrilling 49-43 win over Army (YWAA photos)

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